Sign, sell, loan: the major transfer decisions Arsenal still need to make this summer

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The hard work is far from over as Mikel Arteta prepares his Arsenal squad for their return to the Champions League during the upcoming season.

There is more than a hint of expectation surrounding Arsenal as Mikel Arteta’s side look to build on a highly-progressive season that saw them unexpectedly challenge for the Premier League title.

Although the Gunners’ bid to land a first title in two decades came to an unsuccessful end, Arteta has put foundations in place and is working hard to build upon them as we head into the final month of the summer transfer window. As it stands, around £200million has been spent on West Ham midfielder Declan Rice, Ajax defender Jurrien Timber and Chelsea star Kai Havertz.

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Arteta knows more signings are required as he looks to piece together a squad capable of going one step better in the Premier League and making a serious impact in their return to the Champions League. Speculation over what could come next is ongoing and the Gunners have been linked with a whole host of weird and wonderful names in the last fortnight.

But there is also a need to prune a sizable squad and move on several players that seem highly unlikely to receive the game-time they require throughout the upcoming season. And there is also a desire to allow a number of Gunners prospects to take the next step in their development away from the Emirates Stadium as loan suitors are found.

So what could come next for Arteta in his squad building process?

IN

There can be no doubt Arteta must be delighted with the transfer business conducted so far during what feels like the most exciting window in recent years.

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The headline was without question the club record deal that saw West Ham United captain Declan Rice move to the Emirates Stadium after a prolonged period of transfer talks between the two clubs. The England man will form an integral part of Arteta’s plans moving forward and will provide the Gunners boss with a multi-functional option in midfield.

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The signing of Kai Havertz caused much discussion after the Germany international endured a challenging three-year spell at Chelsea - but Arteta’s determination to take the 24-year-old to the Emirates Stadium suggests he will play a pivotal role during the new campaign.

As it stands, Ajax star Jurrien Timber is the only defensive acquisition made by Arteta but the Dutch international will provide options at right-back and centre-back and provide significant competition for the likes of Ben White, Gabriel and William Saliba.

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A goalkeeper is believed to be next on the agenda and there have been strong suggestions the Gunners will make a firm move for Brentford stopper David Raya, who is valued at around £40million by the Bees. A loan effort was reportedly rejected over the weekend and it seems unlikely the Gunners will meet the current valuation but there remain keen to make a move as they look to provide Aaron Ramsdale with strong competition for a starting place.

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There has been some speculation surrounding moves for Crystal Palace duo Marc Guehi and Michael Olise - although both players would come with significant price tags and that could mean a deal will prove difficult unless several squad players are allowed to depart.

OUT

The main departure of the summer transfer window was captain Granit Xhaka as his seven-year stay at the Emirates Stadium came to an end with a move to Bundesliga club Bayer Leverkusen. Pablo Mari has also departed as loan move to Serie A club Monza was converted into a permanent switch and Ainsley Maitland-Niles was released after his contract came to an end.

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The future of several other Gunners players remains open to question, with the latest speculation suggesting Mikel Arteta could be willing to allow goalkeeper Matt Turner to leave the club if he is successful in his pursuit of Brentford stopper David Raya.

The American international is said to be attracting interest from Premier League rivals Nottingham Forest, who are said to be considering their options as they look to add a keeper to their ranks. Turner and Manchester United goalkeeper Dean Henderson are both said to be admired by Steve Cooper, with the latter spending time on loan at the City Ground last season.

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Kieran Tierney continues to attract interest from Newcastle United as the Magpies look to strengthen their squad in preparation for their return to the Champions League. The summer began with significant talk of the Scotland international’s future but that seems to have gone quiet in recent weeks. However, it would not be a shock to see Tierney depart if a suitable offer comes in.

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There is interest in other squad players as Burnley are reportedly ready to firm up their interest in Albert Sambi Lokonga and a number of clubs are said to be keen on striker Folarin Balogun after he impressed on loan at French club Reims last season. The newly-capped United States international has interest from clubs in Serie A and the Premier League - but he will only be solid if an offer in excess of £45million is received.

Finding a buyer for Nicolas Pepe will be on the agenda for the Gunners - although his sizeable wage demands will provide a significant challenge for any willing suitor. Nuno Tavares and Cedric Soares would also be allowed to depart if suitable buyers can be found.

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As always, there will be significant interest in several of Arsenal’s academy products and Under-21s stars and the Gunners will be receptive to offers from clubs at all levels as they look to help their young prospects take the next stage in their development.

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Charlie Patino enjoyed a productive stint at Blackpool despite the Tangerines on-pitch struggles and is reported to have interest from several Championship clubs that are willing to give him a platform to showcase his unquestionable talent. He is far from alone in enjoying time away from Arsenal last season as the likes of Arthur Okonkwo, Omar Rekik, Brooke Norton-Cuffy and Tyreece John-Jules could all attract interest from elsewhere after impressing out on loan last season.

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